Chennai-based theatre group Evam is back in Bangalore, this time with two plays: The 39 Steps and ART. The 39 Steps, which premiered in Chennai in November, is a humorous take on the original Alfred Hitchcock film and was adapted for London’s West End by actor-playwright Patrick Barlow.
ART, the longest running Evam play, was originally written by Yasmina Reza, and designed and directed by Evam. The play is centred around three friends, one of whom goes in for an expensive piece of art. The purchase is questioned by the one of the friends, while the third one attempts to pacify the other two as they get into a serious argument over the artwork and the merits of having bought it. The theatre group, known for the success of its adaptation of Chetan Bhagat’s Five Point Someone, is now on the lookout for novels by other Indian authors for its next production.
Retaining up to 75% of the original script, The 39 Steps has four actors playing 140 roles over one and a half hours of gimmickry and spoof. “We have retained most the humour in the play,” says Sunil Vishnu, one of the actors, adding that of all Evam productions, this one took the longest time to produce. “It is one of the longest showing plays at Broadway and for four months we worked on improving our production values,” says Vishnu. Based loosely on the serious crime thriller, the play is a take on the film with references to other popular Hitchcock films as well. “If one watches it without Hitchcock as a reference, then it is humorous and circus-like, but those who understand Hitchcock will see layers and an intelligent play of words and images,” says Vishnu. It has been directed by Bhargav Ramakrishnan, and the set and props have been designed by National School of Drama graduate Krithika Natarajan. The 39 Steps, which features Vishnu, P.M. Karthik, Naveen Balachander and Renu Abraham, will travel to Mumbai in June.
ART will be performed at 7.30pm till 7 April; The 39 Steps will be performed at 7.30pm on 8 April, and at 3.30pm and 7.30pm on 9-10 April, at Ranga Shankara, 36/2, 8th Cross, 2nd Phase, JP Nagar, Bangalore (26592777). Tickets, Rs 200, available at www.indianstage.in and at the venue.
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